Moneycontrol
Aug 05, 2017 09:12 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Have Ethereum, Zcash and other altcoins? Now you can convert them into bitcoins in India

Unocoin partners with Shapeshift to allow its users to convert blockchain based assets like Ethereum, Zcash into bitcoin.

BySidhartha Shukla
Have Ethereum, Zcash and other altcoins? Now you can convert them into bitcoins in India

Bitcoin exchange Unocoin now allows its users to convert blockchain based assets into bitcoin.

To make this happen, it has partnered with Shapeshift, digital asset exchange, supporting dozens of blockchain tokens. This partnership, which uses Shapeshift’s API, will enable Unocoin users to convert popular blockchain assets such as Ethereum, Monero, Zcash and Dash directly into Bitcoin and then if desired, into Indian rupees.

Sathvik Vishwanath, co-founder and CEO of Unocoin, said that this service is available on Unocoin's website and will be available on the app in two weeks.

At present apart from bitcoins, there is no other altcoin like Ethereum, Zcash etc, available for purchase and sale on Indian exchanges.

WHAT ARE ALTCOINS?

Cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin or Bitcoin alternatives are called altcoin. These are digital currencies which aim to either replace bitcoin or at least improve on some bitcoin component.

With the partnership with Shapeshift's, people owning various altcoins in international cryptocurrency exchanges will now be able to convert them to bitcoin with the help of Unocoin and converted bitcoin can then easily be withdrawn to the user’s bank account, Vishwanath told Moneycontrol.

There won't be any additional charge levied for currency conversion, he further added.

There’s an emerging range of blockchain based digital assets that serve different purposes; i.e. enabling smart contracts, enhancing financial privacy, etc.  What is common among all of these blockchain assets is that they all run on open mining algorithms.  In India, there has been very little interest in alternative blockchain assets due to it being difficult to convert digital assets into bitcoin and INR.  Unocoin is taking the the first step towards solving this problem, the company said in a press release.

WHAT IS BLOCKCHAIN?

At core, a blockchain is a software that maintains a decentralized public ledger that records transactions and ownership of cryptocurrency.

“Many view bitcoin as digital gold and we’re always looking for ways to make it easier for people to get into bitcoin. Many people learn about bitcoin through other crypto currencies and once they do, we’d like to give them an easy way to convert their blockchain assets into bitcoin.  In the meantime, we’re keeping a close eye on the open blockchain ecosystem and may or may not introduce deeper integrations in the future,” says Sunny Ray, Co-founder and President of Unocoin.

Bitcoin demand has seen a huge upsurge across the globe and in India since last year and is now trading close to USD 1,200. There has been huge talk on the benefits of blockchain adoption in various fields and even the RBI is upbeat on the idea of a digital rupee.

Overall, this partnership will drive more interest into the blockchain ecosystem and help drive user adoption for the emerging cryptocurrency space within India.  More and more people are becoming interested in bitcoin via blockchain assets and an integration like this will help drive greater bitcoin adoption in India, Unocoin said.

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